Note To Self

Oh, I forgot how horrible I can be when I move house. What happens is that I forget to eat enough and I get really irritable and then every little thing makes me snap in anger. I forget to treat my partner like my partner. I treat him like an enemy when he’s only trying to help.

So this is my note to self for the next couple of days:

Be patient, be kind, take a deep breath and speak with love.

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Magic Scarf

I’m trying to recreate a family memory. I have a habit of recreating things from my past that I loved. I’m remembering one holiday when my dad took my sisters and I to the Sunshine Coast for a week and we ended up in a shop that had these funky looking scarves for sale. They were advertised as “More Than 100 Ways To Wear” kind of scarves and we three girls found three colours we each loved and dad didn’t take much convincing. With our purchase, the store owner slipped in a piece of paper that showed a model wearing the magic scarf in five easy ways. Well, the girls and I were inspired and as soon as we got back to the motel we were staying at, we put on a fashion show for dad and Anke. It took hours. We kept trying to discover new ways to wear the scarf. I kept my scarf for ages, until I literally wore holes in it.

So now I’m trying to make one. Part of what made the magic scarf magic was that it was a very large tube scarf that could be stretched open and worn as a shawl or slimmed up and worn as a regular scarf. I can’t knit with knitting needles, but I have a set of French knitting looms that I’m pretty handy with. I regularly use the middle size loom to make beanies and the smaller one to make tube scarves. Now I’m using the biggest loom and a skinny wool and a looser tension in the hopes that the tube will stretch enough to wear as a shawl.

I work on this in the evenings when my partner is watching the cricket. I’m not a fan of cricket, but because I’ve been submitted to almost every single minute of each of the Ashes test matches so far, I’ve come to enjoy listening to the commentators. Shane Warne and Michael Holding are my favourites.

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Easy Gnocchi

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I thought I’d shared this recipe ages ago when I first invented it but it turns out I just used the photo in my post about vegan cheez sauce and didn’t give a recipe at all! It’s a very simple dish, a quick one to make through the week. I make a double batch and take the leftovers to work, but gnocchi doesn’t make for very good leftovers, so do this at your own risk.

Easy Gnocchi
Serves: 2

Ingredients
500g gnocchi
500g tomatoes, diced
1 onion, diced but not too finely
2tbsp salt
Pesto
Optional: cheez sauce or grated cheese

Method
1. Sauté onions in a large pot until cooked but not soft. Use a low heat for a longer time here, you want a bit of crunch left in them.
2. Add tomatoes and bring the heat up to medium. Simmer until mushy and saucy. Turn heat right back down again.
3. Bring 2-3L of water to boil in a second pot. Add salt and mix. Add gnocchi and stir.
4. When the gnocchi rises to the top, it should be done. Always taste one just to be sure. Take 1/3 cup of the cloudy starch filled water and add to the sauce. Then drain gnocchi and add to the sauce pot. Mix well to coat gnocchi.
5. Serve topped with pesto and cheese or cheez sauce if you wish.

I used baby gnocchi tonight and cooked a double batch. A note about saving for leftovers- store the gnocchi in the sauce with a light drizzle of oil. When reheating in a microwave, leave a lid or cover over the bowl and make sure to heat all the way through. Overheating is preferable to under heating here. When reheating on a stove top, add a bit of water and stir often to avoid sticking.

I was vegan for two years and only this year have semi reintroduced dairy and eggs to my diet. 2013 has been an on-again off-again year for me vegan wise but having been vegan for so long I find there’s some foods I can’t re-stomach. Yoghurt is one. Pesto, surprisingly, is another. So I usually just make a vegan version (which is also nut-free). Slightly more expensive, but I prefer the taste.

Bonus recipe- Vegan Pesto
Ingredients
3 parts basil from a tube (the kind you can buy in the fresh produce section)
1 part nutritional yeast (you could use parmesan if dairy isn’t an issue)
1 part lemon juice
1 part olive oil
Pinch of salt
Method
Mix all ingredients together. Taste. Adjust. Repeat until happy.

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In Case Of Cold, Open Box

I was sick last week, only with a cold, but it caught me by surprise (as it often does) and I was out of action for four or five days.

Dannielle Cresp of Style For A Happy Home has started creating kits or boxes full of things you might need for a certain event. So far she’s created an ultimate gift wrapping kit and a kiddo friendly visitor kit. So I’m wanting to make an “In Case Of Cold” kit so that I’m ready the next time the sniffles strike (I always seem to be caught with either no tissues in the house, or those really cheap ones that grate against your nose!).

I won’t be actually assembling the kit until I move house, because I’ll be moving in less than a month and there’s too much other stuff to organise between now and then. But here’s the list of things I’ll put into the box when the time comes:

  • 2 boxes of Kleenex tissues, those super expensive, extra soft aloe ones (and maybe an extra box of the cheap ones for tears and coughing up phlegm, urhg!)
  • Effervescent vitamin C tablets (forces me to drink more water that way).
  • Zinc tablets (more effective than vitamin C according to my dad).
  • Ibuprofen tablets (because sometimes a cold will give me an unshakeable headache or a really sore throat and painkillers are the only thing that will let me get enough sleep to chase the cold away).
  • $50 in cash (for buying fresh lemons/ginger/garlic/honey etc. and for ordering food to be delivered if I can’t make it myself and no-one’s home to cook for me).
  • 2 cans of vegetable soup.
  • A permission slip that gives me permission to: stay in bed, be unproductive, call in sick to work/uni, sleep all day.
  • A reminder notebook with home remedy recipes, instructions for sweating it out and reminders to eat and drink lots and lots. The kinds of things you can forget when your head is so foggy you can barely see straight.

This stuff will all go into a plastic tub or large shoe box and I’ll keep it in the hall cupboard for when it’s needed. Hopefully I’ll not need it for a while now, but if I do, it’s one less thing to think about when I’m focused on recovering asap.

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The B Word

A few days ago, while at work, doing my job, I got called a bitch.

The customer who resorted to name calling was clearly In A Bad Mood and had decided to take it out on me because there was literally nothing I could do in retaliation. I couldn’t have even said anything to him, as he took the cowards way out and said it to me as he was leaving the premises. I was stunned by this customer and his accusation and actually had tears rolling down my face (which I was fighting very hard to control) while serving customers following this incident.

I have never been called a bitch before, not to my face in a way that was clearly just meant to make me feel bad about myself. It was a very confronting experience. I had to think for a while about why the remark had affected me so much (it took me serving a few customers before I was calm enough to look people in the eye again and ask how they were going).

I thought about the fact that if I was Not A Female, this customer would not have called me anything, let alone a bitch (or lazy bitch as I believe he described me). I also thought about the fact that if I was not in a position where I couldn’t retaliate, this incident wouldn’t have happened either. Perhaps, I wondered, if I had not been in a service role, this customer would not have felt entitled to take out his frustration and Bad Mood on me.

If I could meet this customer again, in a calm, controlled, neutral environment, I would like to say a few things to him. Most of them would be questions. One would be a request. And it’s a request I’ll make now, for anybody who is In A Bad Mood and has to come into contact with people who are paid to serve them.

Please, if you are In A Bad Mood, do not take it out on the person who is trying to do their job for you. If they did not cause your Bad Mood, and do nothing to further it, do not insult them for just doing their job. Their job is not to make you feel better, their job is to provide a service. If they are providing the service they are employed to provide, and are meeting the requirements of that service, do not assume that they have a further responsibility to you, especially when you are taking you’re Bad Mood out on them in the first place.

That, of course is the polite things I would do. At the time all I wanted to do was throw a swear-y insult back and maybe ban this customer from returning to my work place. But I was in shock, of course, and had no response.

I’d like to end this on a positive note by mentioning how grateful I was for the lovely customers who I had to serve following this incident. The ones who’d witnessed what happened and let me shed my few tears and be really shaky and avoid eye contact. These customers all had something sweet and supportive to say to me and it really helped me get through the rest of the shift.

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Like The Moon

A draft of a poem in response to the quote “She was like the moon, part of her was always hidden away” (Dia Reeves, Bleeding Violet).


She was like the moon,
A soft reflection of a light
That was too harsh to look at.
Her glow invited gazes.

She was like the moon,
Part of her was always hidden away
So she used words to illuminate
And though her words weren’t as bright as the sun
They lit the darkness enough to see.

She was like the moon,
Coaxing the tides from the sea
Pulling feelings from deep within her to the surface
Then letting them recede to their hiding places.

She was like the moon,
Orbiting around something bigger than herself.
Something she could not comprehend in size
Yet she understood its importance.

She was like the moon,
Untouchable.

Just a blot of ideas at the moment. I’v learned I like my poems better when I write them, then let them stew, then review them and edit, edit, edit! So this is a first draft, but I’m happy enough with it to publish it now. Your comments/feedback would be appreciated if you have something to say.

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I Ran Into Someone Today

My littlest brother is awesome. Beyond awesome. We rode into town this afternoon after school to visit the pet shop so he could buy a few more lizards for his new lizard set-up. Usually one of us rides the electric bike there and the other rides back and he wanted to ride in today so he could hold his lizards on the back on the way home.

After we went to the pet store it was my turn to ride and I wanted to double back and go to a shop to buy a Kitkat before coming back home. I jumped on the front and we went off. As I came around a corner, a girl on a pushbike pulled out in front of me and I had no time, or space, to swerve. I braked as hard and fast as I could, but I still ran into her. Right into her leg.

There was nothing I could have done to prevent the accident, and I had to move off straight away as we were in the middle of the road. She was fine, didn’t even come off her bike. But as I drove off I was shaking and I called back to Max and told him I was about to cry and asked if there was anything I could have done to avoid hitting the girl. He assured me there wasn’t and when we got to the shop for Kitkats he told me to pull over on the side of the road instead of doing a u-turn myself. He then took the bike and crossed the road for us. And when I asked him to ride home he accepted easily as long as I held the lizards properly.

On the way home, Max told me how silly the girl was and assured me again that it was not my fault and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. He also warned me when we were about to go over bumps as my bum was sore from my adventures during the day with dad on the motorbike tour.

When I was retelling the story to Jack, then Mum and finally dad, Max was with me, explaining to them as we’ll what happened on the road. He was just so supportive and sweet that I got over the shock and horror pretty quickly.

My littles brother is now twelve-and-a-half and growing taller, and sweeter each time I see him. Sure, he still fights with his brother, and sure he can still annoy the heck out of me when he wants to, but he has still got the kindest heart and has reminded me over the last few days of how much love he has for me in that kind heart if his. I am so blessed that he’s my brother.

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Unexcited

Nonchalant might be a better way of describing it actually. I’m feeling nonchalant. A touch apathetic. A little bit blasé. Kind of impassive. Sort of indifferent. Maybe even slightly unaffected.

By what? By Vietnam. By travel. By vacations and seeing my family.

I know. I feel bad that I feel this way too. But I have an explanation. You see, I’m not supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be back home finishing assignments and then getting organised to come over and in the process, getting fired up about coming. Instead what happened was so much stress from uni about coursework and assignments that I practically forgot I was coming until I got on the plane.

There was no lead-up. In fact, even with three flights, four airports and approximately 24 hours of travel, I still don’t feel like I’m all here. Why? Because my head’s not here. My head’s stuck in this last essay that I’ve got 23 hours to finish. My head’s thinking over all the things I didn’t prepare for this trip and so in my head, I haven’t left Australia yet.

I don’t want to be unexcited, nonchalant, apathetic, blasé, impassive, indifferent, and even unaffected about being in Vietnam with my family. I want to be excited and happy and exuberant and curious and present. I want to be present in this moment. That will happen tomorrow when I email this final essay off. Tomorrow I will be present. And then I will enjoy every damned second of this well earned vacation. In fact, I’ll bloody well enjoy it in the meantime too!

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Wind Again

Tonight it is windy. It has been windy all day. My windows rattle in their frames and the door bangs just loudly enough to annoy me, just a smudge too loud to ignore.

I walked to work in the wind, walking sideways, and I arrived with hair that had appreciated the fluffing up. I walked home in the wind, still warm despite the darkness.

That’s really something else, isn’t it? The wind in the dark, in the park as I take my shortcut home. There is something powerful about the wind, something I haven’t quite figured out yet.

Something especially mysterious about the wind at night when the invisible hides in the darkness.

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Fragments of a Poem

These poem fragments go with Mideatheire, a Korsakow film that links them with video and makes the order and repetition of the lines jumbled and determined in part by the user. For further discussion about the project, I’ve written a reflection on my student blog.

The physical movement through space over time is propelling her forwards, towards, closer to the end.

The light danced off her fingertips and landed in her hair. She played with it.

“Can you see what I see?” She asked. “No,” I replied, “I can only see through my eyes.”

“Sometimes we move sideways,” she murmured, as if she’d forgotten I was there.

“What makes it home?” I asked. “Difference,” came her reply. “And details, memories and love.”

The blood in her veins would run like a river towards the ocean if she gave it the chance. But she knew better than that. She knew the ocean wasn’t the end.

“Well that’s just it!” She exclaimed. “Isn’t it? The circle of life and death and we all just go around and around and call it living.”

She sighed like the weight of the world had taken up residence on her shoulders. “I need a break,” she confided, “From all of this.”

“Is death the end? Or a beginning?” I asked. She lamented, “It’s just a continuation.”

She pirouetted down the hall and into the room and quoted, “But we do not have to dance.”

She took a step back, followed by a deep breath. Fear radiated from her pores.

“But you’re so far away!” I shouted. “That depends on your perspective,” came her reply.

“These days I breathe sadness,” she confessed as though it was something I should have known already.

She took care to notice the little things in life. That’s what made her different.

“Nobody sees the little things,” she explained. “They’re all looking for the mountains that face the sea.”

“When will you return?” I asked. She just glanced at me and smiled.

“Sometimes we can take our time,” she explained, “and sometimes we don’t have that luxury.”

Ah! But what’s in a glance in a moment that cannot be found again?

“You see?” She laughed. “There you go again on the same track, round and round.”

“What if you took a break from all this?” I suggested and she cried and told me it’s impossible.

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